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The process of making a Headstone Monument

  1.  The first step is at the quarry. Granite blocks are cut from the bedrock. The most common way of doing this is drilling. A pneumatic drill bores vertical holes in the granite along the cut line approximately 20 feet deep.  The quarrymen then use steel bits with steel teeth to cut away at the core of the rock.


2.   Granite blocks are usually about 3 ft wide, 3 ft high, and 10 ft long, weighing about 20,250 lbs. After the granite block is cut loose,  workers either loop a cable around the block, attach the cable to a large derrick that lifts the granite block onto a flatbed truck that transports it to the headstone manufacturer.

granite saw blade sun city granite grave markers and headstones California


3. After arriving at the granite manufacturer, the granite slabs are then cut into smaller slabs. The slabs are generally 6, 8, 10, or 12 inches thick. This step is done with a rotary diamond saw. The saw is equipped with a 5 ft or 11 ft solid steel diamond blade.

headstone granite line polishing

4. Now the cut slabs are polished. The cut slabs are passed under a varying number of rotating heads (usually eight to 13) with differing levels of grit arranged from the most  to the least. The first few heads have a harsh diamond grit, the middle heads are for honing, and the last few heads are equipped with felt buffer pads. These pads have water and aluminum or tin oxide powder on them to polish the stone to a smooth, glossy finish.  The headstone is then ready for finishing. The granite slabs are either cut or rock pitched into the desired shape and size. Rock pitching is a cutting technique that involves chiseling the outer edges of the stone by hand, giving a more defined, personal shape. Then the monument is crated and sent to the monument builder.


5. The design department will take the customer ideas and create a headstone layout showing in detail what the finished memorial will look like.  This will be presented to the customer for approval of the art work and inscription.


6. After the designed layout for the headstone or memorial is approved, the engravers use the computer generated artwork in the form of a stencil to carve the memorial. This stencil is used as a guide to engrave any information, such as words, dates, or emblems, into the granite headstone surface. In earlier years, the design was hand drawn onto the stone, and then hand-carved.  Having the customer involved in every part of the design and signing a final proof ensures that the engraving will be exactly as presented. Computer systems have improved the accuracy and precision of monument building, but the process is still greatly reliant on the artisan’s skill and ability to work with the computer programs, machinery and carving processes.

sandblasting a headstone monument grave marker memorial california

7. Once the stencil has been applied, the granite is then carved by a craftsman. The engraver uses a high-pressure air hose to trace the design from the stencil into the granite headstones. Once the design is carved from the stencil, the engravers fill in the crevasses with black or white litho, so that the lettering stands out against the natural coloring of the stone. The uncut portion of the stencil is then removed, and, after the standard final preparations, the granite headstone is ready to be shipped.

You can add photos, vases, and other items to personalize your headstone memorial.

Sun City Granite  porcelain ceramics photos are supplied from Paradise Pictures we feel they have the best process and product on the market with an lifetime warranty..

  About Paradise Pictures, LLC

Paradise Pictures® introduced the first high fired color photo ceramic process to the memorial industry in 1991. Our process ensures the best reproduction of your client’s photos through digital scanning, computer color adjustment, and proprietary high-resolution digital imaging. This unique process creates a ceramic memorial portrait that exceeds the requirements for durability in memorial applications. Ceramic colors fired at very high temperatures in our photo ceramic process endure the extremes of weather and environment. Colors will not fade and the medallion finish will not deteriorate, thus ensuring the permanence expected in the memorial industry.

Our process creates a finished product with an image as sharp as the original photograph with natural skin tones and detailed color quality. We begin with the family’s photograph, scan it at a high resolution, digitally clean the photo as needed, and correct any color imbalances. Imaging is accomplished using our proprietary process and the medallion is fired at a temperature of up to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit. Thanks to the efficiencies of our unique equipment and digital technology, our process is typically completed in less than 15 working days. This union of time-honored ancient enameling and high-resolution digital photography brings the finest quality portraits to the memorialization industry.

Cleaning Memorials in the Cemetery

The granite memorial you have purchased is a combination of the finest natural materials and modern craftsmanship. However, like any material exposed to the elements some maintenance is recommended. Memorials are exposed to airborne pollution, chemical residues from fertilizer and weed killers, and especially mineral deposits from water.
Never use waxes or polishes on the granite. Any window-cleaning agent, such as Windex, will bring up the natural luster by cleaning the surface of the stone.
Once or twice a year, perhaps on an anniversary, birthday or Memorial Day, use a solution made from three or four tablespoons of granular electric dishwasher detergent, such as Cascade, Electrosal or Sunlight, and one quart of water to scrub the memorial. A fiber-bristled brush (do not use plastic or metal bristle brushes) should be used and when the washing is completed, the memorial should be rinsed thoroughly. Take care not to get the solution in your eyes by wearing appropriate eye protection. It is best if this cleaning is done when the memorial is cool – early morning or late afternoon is best.
For heavy mineral deposits, the memorial can be cleaned with pumice stone. Pumice is a soft volcanic rock that can be used to clean polished granite.
1.Wipe off memorial to remove any loose debris. This step is very important.
2.Pumice should be used wet. Gently rub the pumice stone on the polished surfaces in a light, circular motion. Do not try to clean in areas where the polish has been removed. The pumice stone will slowly wear away while removing the surface buildup.
3.Wipe or wash off the residue.

The Process of Ordering Headstones

Our Advice for Headstone Selection

How do I order a headstone?

We understand that ordering a memorial headstone is not something people do all the time, so our aims is to make the process easy and stress free for you.

Call Sun City Granite for some free advice on selecting a memorial headstone

Our experienced team will ask you which cemetery the headstone is to go to, along with the name of the deceased. We will also find out if there are any council bylaws applying to the cemetery and area where the headstone is to be installed, as some cemeteries will have a restriction on the size of a headstone or plaque and sometimes even the design. In most public and private cemeteries  as long as we stay adhere to the the size requirements, we are usually able to install any headstone design you like.

Considerations when ordering a headstone

  • Have a think about the future. Is the headstone for just the one person, or will there be additional details to be added at a later date?
  • Do you wish to have ceramic photographs on the headstone?
  • Do you have a verse or phrase you would like inscribed on the headstone or even onto the base?
  • Do you plan to have an unveiling, ceremony or service and what is the date for this?

How long will my headstone take to make?

We are also able to produce a high quality memorial for you in less than a week if necessary. Please note that custom memorial headstones will take longer to produce — up to 10 weeks and sometimes slightly longer. The normal time-frame for a headstone we have in stock is 3 to 4 weeks.

Deciding on an inscription

If you are having trouble with the inscription, call our staff at Sun City Granite to discuss layout options.  We have an experienced team who are adept at helping out with what wording to put on the headstone, the best way to lay the text out, what graphics would complement the wording and any other questions you may have. A ceramic-porcelain photograph or a graphic image tells a story of your family member and is a lovely way to remember them by.

Draft headstone designs

Once you have decided on a headstone design and your wording, our graphic artists will produce for you a draft layout of what the headstone will look like with your inscription. Obviously, this is only a draft and making changes is a common and expected part of the process.

When the draft is finished and signed off, the headstone will be produced and made ready for installation.